What Happens When An ACL Injury Is Left Untreated?

An ACL injury is one of the most common knee injuries that affect both men and women alike. It typically affects active or athletic individuals, and when it does, it can cause the kind of pain and limitation that negatively impacts the quality of daily life. If this injury is left untreated, it can cause significant pain, further damage to the knee, and severe limitations.

You’ll Experience Increased Pain

One of the number one symptoms associated with an injury to the ACL is pain. Aside from pain, swelling, tenderness, and reduced mobility are some of the most noticeable symptoms accompanying this specific injury. If you don’t treat this injury and try to tough it out, you will have to deal with increased pain, especially if you continue to force activities, exercises, or movements without addressing the injury.

You May Experience Different Degrees of Knee Laxity

Knee laxity is another term for loose ligaments within the knee, leading to knee weakness, and is one of the repercussions of leaving an injured ACL untreated. This condition not only causes increased knee pain but can also lead to chronic knee pain if left untreated.

The other parts of the knee will overwork to make up for the injured ACL, which will lead to increased knee laxity as a result. Different parts of the knee will be more susceptible to injury as they try to make up for the ACL’s inability to function properly.

You May Experience Possible Meniscus Damage

Your meniscus is made up of the rubbery cartilage in the knee, and it acts as a shock absorber during activities. Even if you have a healthy meniscus that remains undamaged and unaffected at the time of your injury, not treating that injured ACL can put you at risk of a future meniscus injury, leading to decreased function of the knee, limited mobility, and increased pain.

When the knees tissue and joints aren’t working as they were designed and are making up for the injured ACL, you’ll be at risk for additional and more serious knee injuries as well.

Increased Risk of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which cartilage weakens and slowly deteriorates, leading to pain and decreased function and mobility. Osteoarthritis can be managed, but it is not a reversible condition.

If you don’t treat an injured ACL, you’ll experience the accelerated breakdown of the cartilage in the knee, which will put you at risk for osteoarthritis. An injured ACL cannot function properly, and therefore, the surrounding parts of the knee try to support the area and end up breaking down over time.

There are ways to treat and correct a torn ACL and get your mobility back. If you have injured your ACL and are living with the pain and decreased quality of life and mobility that accompanies this injury, know that there are solutions that can help you experience total and complete healing. Contact Tchejeyan Orthopedics and Sports Medicine to learn about the solutions available to repair your ACL and give you your life back.